[Editor’s Note: Starla Sampaco is the host and producer of GeekWire’s TLDR daily news show. Watch and subscribe here.]
I just got my hands on Amazon’s new Echo Look. It’s an Alexa-enabled device, so it has the same functions as an Echo, but it also takes photos and six-second videos of your outfits with help from built-in LED lights and a voice-controlled, depth-sensing camera.
The $200 device, originally announced in April 2017, was previously available for purchase only via invitation, but Amazon made it available for purchase by anyone in the U.S. earlier this month.
I took the Echo Look home and tried it out for a couple days, and here’s the TLDR version of my review: If you’re really into fashion and love to post #OOTDs (Outfit of the Day photos) on Instagram, you’ll LOVE this. Even so, this device is more of a nice to have than a need to have.
Unboxing & Set-Up ?
When you open the box, here’s what you’ll find:
- The Amazon Echo Look device
- The base, where you’ll mount the device on
- A quick start guide
- Optional mounting instructions, a mounting plate, and nails (in case you want to attach the Echo Look to your wall)
To keep things simple, I just set the Echo Look on my bookcase. It was super easy to set-up — there’s even a quick video on Amazon.com and on the Echo Look app that takes you step by step.
Including the base, the Echo Look is almost 6.5 inches tall and less than 2 inches wide. It has a hands-free camera and built-in LED lighting.
Using the Echo Look ?
Using the device was very easy. I just stood about 5 feet away from the Echo Look, and said “Alexa, take a photo.” Then, the device would beep once and the lights would flash before taking the photo. There’s also a six-second video option, which lets you turn 360 degrees so you can see the outfit from every angle.
Testing the app?
To use the device, you have to download the Echo Look app. This is where you’ll save your Look Book, which is a collection of the photos and videos of your outfits.
Sometimes, you might want to have a second opinion when getting dressed for an event. That’s where the Style Check feature comes in. This feature uses machine learning to help you decide between two outfits.
I just picked two photos I took with my Echo Look — in this case, a photo of me in a black dress and a photo in the same black dress but with a jacket — and I asked the app to help me decide which looks better. About a minute later, I got my results back, and the app said the dress looked better by itself because of the shape of the outfit.
If you do plan to use this feature, make sure to keep your pose and other factors as consistent as possible. I ran the Style Check with two photos of the same outfit but with different poses, and the app couldn’t tell that I was comparing identical clothes.
Key Takeaways ?
Would I use this again? Yes. For the work I do, it’s useful.
As some of you might already know, I host GeekWire’s news rundown show, TLDR, so appearing on camera is a big part of my job. Outside of that, I also emcee events.
Especially when I’m preparing to emcee a more formal event, I photograph my outfits in front of a bright light ahead of time. Imagine standing under stage lights and realizing that the fabric of your clothing is thinner than you thought and people can see *through* your clothes. YIKES. I know that sounds silly, but that actually does happen to people, so I try to avoid that as much as possible.
Plus, if you know you’re going to be photographed at an event, it doesn’t hurt to do a couple test photos ahead of time to make sure that the fit of your outfit is flattering.
Verdict: Nice to have, but not necessary ?
If you’re thinking about buying the Echo Look and $200 isn’t a huge expense for you, go for it. The Echo Look will be very useful for people who are passionate about fashion or people who are photographed a lot. And if you like online shopping, you might enjoy the clothing suggestions in the app (of course, all suggestions are available for purchase on Amazon.com).
Overall, I think the Echo Look is something that’s nice to have. It’s helpful for the kind of work I do. But it’s not something that’s really necessary for me to get dressed for work or for events. Doing things the old-fashioned way with a mirror and an iPhone works for me, but the hands-free camera makes things a little more convenient.
Note: Although the Echo Look has the same functions as other Alexa devices, its speaker quality is similar to that of a smartphone. So if you’re looking for better-quality sound, Amazon recommends other devices, like the Echo, Echo Plus, or Echo Show.